An oft-repeated term we use in Krav Maga is “Timeline.” In most cases, a timeline refers to the distance of the assailant. This distance has an integral role in how we defend ourselves. There is a significant difference, for example, in how we respond to someone 10 meters away running toward us waving his fist or a weapon(run!), compared to someone within arm’s length throwing a punch to your face.
Of course, there are other factors besides distance. Do you have an escape route? When did you perceive the danger? Are you alone or do you have to protect someone such as family members?
For this article we are going to focus on Timeline and Distance. Here is a general overview.
Very Long Distance: This varies, but an example would be more than 4 meters or you see someone running at you half a block away. This distance gives you more time to react. If there are escape routes and you are mobile, “hightail it outta there” (that means run)!
Long Distance: Kicking Distance – when you can reach them with your legs but not your hands. If they are approaching with aggression and you see it, why wait until they get close enough to punch, grab, slash, stab etc….? Effective can maintain distance and hurt or even disable an attacker. This is usually a “preemptive strike” where you are striking first to protect yourself.
Medium Distance: The assailant is within arm’s length so he can grab, punch, stab… You will likely have to perform a preemptive strike(e.g. punch) or a hand or leg defense of some variety (block, deflect, slide). The attacker is too close to kick and too far to effectively use a short-range striking tool such as an elbow strike.
Short Distance: the assailant is very close, often grabbing, holding, choking… Kicks and punches are rarely effective this close so it is time to elbow, knee, headbutt, pinch or bite!
An example. Level one (B1) of our curriculum includes the prevention and escape from chokes based on principles around “timeline”. There is kicking to prevent from long distance, deflecting the assailant’s arms (or punching if his arms are too wide to deflect) from a medium distance, then escaping the choke itself when we are not able to prevent.
Self-defense training must emphasize the timeline of assaults to improve our decision-making and improve our ability to protect ourselves and be safe.